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Defiance: the Bielski partisans

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The prevailing image of European Jews during the Holocaust years is one of helpless victims under a death sentence, unable to fight consignment to the ghettos, to the camps, and to the gas chambers. In fact, many Jews struggled alone or with others against the terrors of the Third Reich, risking their lives against overwhelming odds for the slimmest chance of survival, or a mere glimpse of freedom. In Defiance, Nechama Tec offers a riveting history of one such group, a forest community in western Belorussia that would number more than 1,200 Jews by 1944--the largest armed rescue operation of Jews by Jews in World War II. Describing the entire partisan movement in the region, Tec shows that while most forest fighters in Belorussia were rifle-carrying young men, the members of this extraordinary community included both men and women, some with weapons but mostly unarmed, ranging from infants to the elderly. She reconstructs for the first time the amazing details of how these partisans and their families--hungry, exposed to the harsh winter weather, always on the lookout for German patrols--managed not only to survive, but to offer protection to all Jewish fugitives who could find their way to them. Driven by courage born out of despair, they dug wells, set up workshops to repair guns, make clothes, and resole shoes, supplied services to other guerilla units, and even established a makeshift hospital and school in the forest. Arguing that this success would have been unthinkable without the vision of one man, Tec offers penetrating insight into the group's commander, Tuvia Bielski, and his journey from his life as the son of the only Jewish peasant family in an isolated rural village to his emergence as a leader possessing the charisma and courage to command under all but impossible circumstances. Tec brings to light the untold story of Bielski's struggle as a partisan who lost his parents, wife, and two brothers to the Nazis, yet never wavered in his conviction that it was more important to save one Jew than to kill twenty Germans. She shows how, under Bielski's guidance, the partisans smuggled Jews out of heavily guarded ghettos, scouted the roads for fugitives, and led retaliatory raids against Belorussian peasants who collaborated with the Nazis against their former Jewish neighbors. Refusing to turn away the weak or the old for the sake of the survival of the larger group, Bielski would warn new arrivals to the forest, "Life is difficult, we are in danger all the time, but if we perish, if we die, we die like human beings." A scholar, a writer, and herself a Holocaust survivor, author Nechama Techas devoted the last two decades to studying the fate of European Jewry,recording rare but vital examples of human compassion, resistance, altruism and heroism in the face of overwhelming horror and despair. Drawing on wide-ranging research and never before published interviews with surviving partisans--including Tuvia Bielski himself two weeks before his death in 1987--she reconstructs here the poignant and unforgettable story of those who chose to fight.
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ISBN:
9780195376852
9780195075953
9781483051741
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Grouping Information

Grouped Work ID b1e5a34f-6fd6-63f3-b41e-cd9283e0105d
Grouping Title defiance the bielski partisans
Grouping Author tec nechama
Grouping Category book
Last Grouping Update 2019-09-20 22:44:47PM
Last Indexed 2019-09-20 23:45:33PM

Solr Details

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author Nechama Tec
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display_description

The prevailing image of European Jews during the Holocaust is one of helpless victims. But in fact, many Jews struggled against the terrors of the Third Reich. This is the riveting history of one such group, a forest community numbering more than 1,200 Jews, that carried out the largest armed rescue operation of Jews by Jews in World War II. Nechama Tec reconstructs the amazing details of how these men and women of all ages—hungry, largely unarmed, and exposed to harsh winter weather—managed not only to survive but to take on the duel role of fighters and rescuers. Under the guidance of their charismatic leader, Tuvia Bielski, they smuggled Jews out of heavily guarded ghettos, led retaliatory raids against Nazi collaborators, and offered protection to all Jewish fugitives who could find their way to them.

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publishDate 1993
2009
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overdrive:1cc2e57f-31dc-48aa-8d92-8e3996bc5c4f eAudiobook Audio Books English Blackstone Publishing 2009
ils:CARL0000064251 Book Books English Oxford University Press, c1993. xiii, 276 p. : map, ports. ; 24 cm.
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subject_facet Belarus -- Ethnic relations
Bielski, Tuvia
Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945) -- Belarus
Jews -- Belarus -- Persecutions
World War, 1939-1945 -- Jews -- Rescue -- Belarus
World War, 1939-1945 -- Underground movements, Jewish -- Belarus
title_display Defiance : the Bielski partisans
title_full Defiance : the Bielski partisans / Nechama Tec
Defiance The Bielski Partisans
title_short Defiance :
title_sub the Bielski partisans
topic_facet Bielski, Tuvia
Ethnic relations
History
Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)
Jews
Nonfiction
Persecutions
Rescue
Underground movements, Jewish
World War, 1939-1945